SIP and VoIP: Buy As Enabler Not Money Saver

18th November 2014

Heard any horror stories about SIP trunking and VoIP recently? We have. What at first looked like it was going to be the next big thing is now proving, for some, to be one to avoid. But what’s the truth behind all of the hype? Matt from Odyssey investigates…

woman pressing a VoIP conference call telephone

Firstly let’s go back to basics…

SIP stands for Session Initiation Protocol and is basically a clever way of using your internet connection; it means you can use it for new and whizzy things including making and receiving phone calls. SIP Trunking allows companies to use the internet to communicate beyond their own internal network, and supports voice and video services such as VoIP.

With the internet being as powerful as it is, VoIP was really the next logical move for telecoms. Named aptly, “Voice Over Internet Protocol” works on an essentially simple concept: telephone systems operate over the internet instead of, well, telephone lines. Despite earning itself a bad name.

VoIP brings with it loads of slick new features and levels of convenience that a regular telephone line could only dream of. Firstly, the internet is a powerful tool and one that means we’re pretty much backed up where ever we are – VoIP systems are disaster-proof in the sense that, if your office building burned down, the only thing you’d need to restore your phone line is a decent internet connection. Now where would you possibly find one of those? Plus, it makes all of those tricky areas of work really easy and efficient, like working from home, or setting up big conference calls.

Using the internet for phone calls removes a ton of barriers that usually stand in the way of communication. We can now speak to anyone, anywhere in the world, at a fraction of the cost. We can see which of our employees is talking to who right on the screen of our phone. It’s slick, it’s efficient and it’s definitely a step forward into the future of telecoms technology.

This all sounds great – so why exactly does VoIP have such a bad rep? Let’s break it down. There are two potential issues with trunking for VoIP. Firstly, VoIp is usually sold as a cost saver, which means that it is used for both general internet usage and IP telephony; however, it should be sold as an enabler.  Having your phone lines on top of your normal internet usage places additional demands on your bandwidth – especially your upload bandwidth, and if provision hasn’t been made for that, you might find you reach the capacity of your network. 80% of small businesses use ADSL to connect to the internet, meaning that upload becomes a limited factor, and this is just not suitable.

Man attaching network cable

Secondly, if you hit that capacity, it means there will not be enough bandwidth to do what you’re asking. Typical issues with this are one way audio, broken audio, and even echo.  Meaning, that all familiar scenario – the internet has failed us and things grind to a halt. It’s a nightmare. With VoIP, this situation is made even worse due to the fact that your telephone systems go down too. Bad news for any business.

You should always put in two broadband connections for the most efficient system. Don’t ever think about installing just one broadband connection as a failsafe, as mixing voice traffic with data traffic is a big no no. Implement two entirely different systems will ensure that you have a fully functional business telephone system.

Too often we’re coming across VoIP installers who do not consider these two potential issues in setting up their client’s VoIP systems. The customers then go on to find it to be unreliable and even downright damaging. What’s worse, in order to fix the issues they are facing a whole load of unexpected extra cost in order to expand their bandwidth and possibly even introduce a second broadband line.

The crux of the matter is: if VoIP is implemented correctly, and not in a haphazard way that neglects the issues discussed above, it can be a really empowering tool. For example, at Odyssey, when we install VoIP telephony, we do so on two separate connectivity, so that if one goes down, phones remain active. It’s all about seeing the system as something that will bring with it seriously advanced features, not one that is a cost-saving tool only.

It may all seem a little daunting, but with the right expertise VoIP could be the perfect choice for your business. At Odyssey, we’re always advocates of the things that will truly help businesses in their mission to communicate, which is why we believe VoIP shouldn’t be written off. Give us a call to give it a chance – we’ll make sure you find out everything you need to know. Just be sure that we would never sell you this service as a money saver like most of our telecoms competitors, but as a system that will enable you to run your business as effectively as possible with no down time.

For more information on our services, please give us a call on 01642 661800, or browse our business phone lines and calls page.